5 Insightful Thoughts From Our Cambodia Partners
Have you ever marveled at pictures of Angkor Wat, the massive temple complex in Cambodia with elaborately carved spires rising over the surrounding forest? Or maybe you’ve wept through the movie The Killing Fields about the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s. As complex as Cambodia’s history is, so are the beauty and challenges of Cambodia today.
Cambodia is an increasingly popular tourist destination with beautiful tropical forests, high plateaus, and sandy beaches. And Cambodia is also one of the poorest countries in Asia. Poverty in Cambodia over the years has left most of the country’s poorest people lacking indoor plumbing, electricity, and medical care. And sadly, kids living in poverty suffer the most – a third of children under 5 in Cambodia have stunted growth because they don’t get enough to eat. Kids there face many challenges.
But Child Champions are there, bringing hope to an entire generation of kids. They are working tirelessly to help children in Cambodia have a future beyond poverty.
Our field partners in Cambodia recently told us how Child Champions in Cambodia have helped the kids and their families throughout 2022. We were fascinated to hear about the ways they are bringing kids hope, including:
- Seeing more mothers attending Hope Center activities and receiving encouragement.
- Helping kids improve in their studies so they can move on to higher education and better future job prospects.
- Helping kids fulfill their physical, spiritual, and educational needs through Hope Center activities.
- Emphasizing the importance of long-term support/sponsorship, especially for educational opportunities.
- Working to grow holistic programming for the kids.
Here’s a recap of our Cambodia field partners’ top five insights for 2022:
As we focused on increasing family engagement in our Hope Centers last year, what changes did you experience in your area?
Our children’s families were grateful for the time and attention that their children received at the Hope Centers and were happy to stay better informed about the program. Thanks to the new family engagement plan, many more mothers came to the Hope Center services on Sundays and appreciated receiving encouragement from Child Champions.
Children who are enrolled at the Hope Centers have noticeably more opportunities than other children in the community who do not participate in programming. In what ways did you see this last year?
One of the most impactful effects we saw was increased educational development. Children from the Hope Center not only did better in school, but they were given better employment opportunities after graduation. Several of our youth even continued on to study at the university and vocational-technical institutes. Communities work better together when there are improved educational possibilities available.
How did children give voice to and influence their own programs? What did you do to make sure all children — including those without sponsors — had equal input and participation?
It is important that all have a part in identifying local needs. This improves communication and cooperation. Child Champions engaged the youth and encouraged their voice when selecting the activities and programming — as long as it met their direct needs to improve their physical and spiritual health and educational development.
The children were a part of all daily activities at the local Hope Centers, and all received physical nutrition, school supplies, uniforms, health checkups, and educational resource activities.
If you could appeal directly to potential sponsors or donors for their support, what would you say?
We would let them know how important it is to understand, or try to understand, each other’s cultures and mindsets. The children in Cambodia face unique challenges that many other children in the world do not. Long-term support/sponsorship makes an incredible difference in the life of a child here. By giving them opportunities — especially educational opportunities — beyond high school, it can change everything for them by opening doors to better employment, which in turn helps an entire community.
How do you plan to grow this year, and what is your hope for children in your Hope Centers?
We hope that our children will continue to thrive and have dreams for the future. We wish to grow our holistic programming by providing more nutritional supplements, health checkups, spiritual development activities, and educational support through new resources.
Learn more about Cambodia and our dedicated Child Champions and the beautiful families and kids there.
Help our field partners and others in Cambodia help more kids. Sponsor a child today.
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